State highway patrols may have a new weapon in the war on reckless driving: the Lovemongers’ debut Will Records album, “Whirlygig.”
“We had one guy tell us that the album was good for road rage,” lead singer Ann Wilson said recently from her Seattle home. “He’s in (Los Angeles), and he said he was playing it and looked down at his speedometer and he was only going 60 (mph), and he just felt happy and really good, even though people were zooming by him and cutting him off. He didn’t care.”
That could serve as an analogy for Wilson and her sister, Nancy, better known for their long, fruitful partnership as Heart. While the current music climate may be passing them by, the Wilsons are quietly driving along at their own pace, no longer impeded by major-label distractions and overambitious producers.
“We wanted to express ourselves in the completely honest way that we’ve been doing the past few years,” Ann Wilson said, “and get all these songs that have been hanging out for the last five years that we had written, get them out and do it in a way that wouldn’t be under a radar, where we didn’t have anybody breathing down our necks, where we could be completely ourselves and do our own production. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. We wanted it to remain vital, not overproduced.”
The Wilsons and band mates Sue Ennis (keyboards), Frank Cox (guitar) and Ben Smith (drums) accomplished that goal, opting for Heart-felt, acoustic-driven simplicity. Tracks such as the sultry “Kiss” and “City on the Hill” hearken to the Wilsons’ “Dreamboat Annie” glory days.
“We didn’t even use a real recording studio,” Ann Wilson said. “We used rehearsal space and rented some gear and a 16-track board and just recorded the basics – the drums, bass and guitar, vocals and keyboards – all analog and then we did the lesser important overdubs on an ADAT, so you’ve got that real analog sound, the old-fashioned, kind of in-your-face sound. It meant that maybe there are some moments of low-fi on there, but we didn’t care. We were more excited about making sure they had a breath of life in them.”
So, the obvious question is: Why isn’t this a Heart album? Wilson said it is, sort of.
“It’s just that the name has been changed,” she said. “I kind of liken it to the period with the Beatles where it was so uncomfortable to be in the Beatles so they were ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ for a while. Not to compare ourselves to the Beatles in any way, but there’s an awful lot of baggage that goes along with Heart. It’s funny, we just call it Lovemongers and do what we would do anyway; we do what we do, and people seem to be able to relax and enjoy it a little bit better.
“That’s why we call it ‘Whirlygig,’ because it’s like coming around (to old Heart). Mostly, we feel ‘Hey, we’ve been here before,’ but now we’re further on down the road. We’re doing it all ourselves. I’m playing bass. It isn’t exactly the same, but boy it sure touches on our essence that’s been there all along.”
Wilson said she is looking for a solo deal, and with it comes Heart.
“We’re getting some interest,” she said, “but at the same time, I just really don’t think it’s worth our while getting back into it in the same old way we did in the ’80s, where we’d take any outside songs just to have hits and we’ll do whatever it takes just to get up there. We need to be more honest now.”
The Lovemongers’ plate is getting full. Within the next few months, they’re scheduled to appear on RuPaul’s VH1 show, “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and “The Tonight Show.”
“This summer, I’ve been invited to play at Lilith Fair,” Wilson said. “Nancy’s trying to have a family, so if she’s not involved in that, then we’ll do it as the Lovemongers. We’ve also been invited by the Indigo Girls to take part in their tour, so we’re going to be all over the place.”
BWF (before we forget): Let Ann and Nancy Wilson break your Heart on the Web @ www.annandnancy.com.
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